Medium: ink on LE silver gelatin print
Size: 60 x 45 in.
Purchased with funds provided by the Acquisition Trust, 2019.05. © 2012 Shirin Neshat.
Shirin Neshat ()
Shirin Neshat’s large photo series The Book of Kings is inspired by the 60,000-verse poem Shahnameh written in the 11th century by the Persian poet Ferdowsi. Consisting of three separate series of large black-and-white portraits, The Book of Kings includes excerpts of poems in Persian, both from the original Shahnameh and from present-day Iranian poets, carefully inscribed by Neshat’s own hand. Nida (Patriots) stares earnestly and directly into the camera with her hand on her heart. Capturing her expressionless face, as if there is still a history to be written, Neshat asks, “…who in fact are the patriots?” Neshat offers no answer to who will be the martyrs, patriots, or villains for posterity. The subject looks at us and we at her, and in this way Neshat combines complex questions of history, politics, and philosophy in a confrontational, yet poetic visual language.
Image courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery.